Easy, FAST Editing in iPhoto – 1 minute, 7 steps

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I use iPhoto (the free built in photo app that comes with Macs) to store and manage my photos. I also use iPhoto to edit 95% of my photos because:

a) I find it so convenient to store and edit in the same app;

b) it isn’t as powerful as Lightroom or Photoshop but it’s powerful enough for most photos;

c) once I converted from JPEG to shooting in RAW, this made a HUGE difference to how well I could edit in iPhoto. iPhoto is very “RAW friendly”; and

d) the auto enhance and boosting capabilities are pretty reliable which makes editing really fast.

The one huge drawback is that iPhoto does not export web optimised photos. So after I finish editing, I simply drag/drop the photos into Photoshop then “Save For Web”.


1. Straight out of camera

Easy Fast editing in iPhoto

2. Auto Enhance – this is the first thing I always do because it gives me a good idea of how well parts of the photo come out. Often it impacts my decision on what part of the photo to crop.

Easy Fast editing in iPhoto

3. Crop -always crop before you start doing serious editing. That way you will always see the impact of editing on the actual photo you want to use.

Easy Fast editing in iPhoto

4. Auto Boost – I love this auto function. It boosts the colour and intensity really well for 98% of my photos with a single click. Word of warning: don’t go overboard! You don’t want your photos to look “fake”. :-)


Easy Fast editing in iPhoto

5. Avoid Saturating Skin Tones – this lets you enhance and boost colours without making “skin tones” turn into an intense yellow. It’s especially good for pastries and cakes. You will most likely need to click it if you used Auto Boost.

Easy Fast editing in iPhoto

6. Sharpness – with iPhoto, it’s safe to dial the sharpness all the way up. I rarely do that with Lightroom because it is so powerful I find that sharpness can turn detail into grainy! But with iPhoto, it is safe and it makes a noticeable difference.

Easy Fast editing in iPhoto

7. Contrast – dialling up the contrast slightly intensifies the colour and shadows which makes the photo look more dynamic. Word of warning – use with caution! Too much colour = fake looking food. :-)

Easy Fast editing in iPhoto

8. Save For Web – saving photos optimised for web makes a huge difference to the quality of the image (especially colours). You can’t do this in iPhoto, so I simply drag/drop the photo into Photoshop, then File > Save For Web. Then all I do is resize the photo to the ideal size for my blog which is 680px wide.

Saving Photos Optimised for Web Photoshop

That’s it!

Using iPhoto, editing each photos literally takes me less than 1 minute.

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The Food Photography Book by Nagi from RecipeTin Eats


  1. says

    I have photoshop but i am a very new to this game and do not really know how to use it yet. When you save for web do you save them as jpegs or gif s? photoshop comes up with a complex box with various settings and seems to want to save it as a gif. and do you resize before saving for web.

  2. says

    I also don’t have photoshop – do you know of any other way to accomplish the ‘save for web’ step? Thanks! I’m finding your photo tutorials so helpful.

  3. says

    WOW thank you Nagi, I have just started to learn food photography, self teaching and this post is really helpful as I don’t have either photoshop or lightroom. I am going to use free trial one for now. Thank you.

    • Nagi says

      Oh I’m so glad! My mentor is a professional food photographer and she is horrified that I still use iPhoto. I find it very fast to sort through them and do fast editing, then I only use PS or LR when I have to. :) Though I must admit I am using it more often nowadays because I’m doing more client work. :)

  4. says

    I’m glad to see someone else uses iPhoto! I don’t have Photoshop; however, so I don’t know what I could do to optimize my photos for the web. What exactly does that feature do?

    • Nagi says

      Hi Sarah! Colours appear differently on websites so unless you save images optimised for web, you will lose a bit of quality when you upload it onto your blog.

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